Barn 05

Dr. Robert Clay Reid

June 13, 1925 ~ July 27, 2021 (age 96)


Dr. Robert Clay Reid (“Bob”) died peacefully on July 27th surrounded by family.  He was 96.


Bob was the youngest of four children born to Elton and Stella Reid of Peculiar, Missouri (thirty miles outside of Kansas City). Bob attended Thorn Grove School, a one room schoolhouse with eight students, and later Peculiar High School.  


The Reids were farmers.  They were considered well off - though they had no electricity and minimal indoor plumbing until after WWII -  as a large number of their neighbors lost their farms during the Great Depression.  FDR was their true hero, and Harry Truman – from a few towns over – was a family friend.


Bob entered the Navy towards the end of WWII and studied electronics.  He spent the last months of his Navy tour in the Philippines helping to close down bases.  He completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Missouri.  And, after overcoming a brush with polio, was admitted to the Harvard Medical School class of 1951.  


Bob made many lifelong friends at Medical School.  A key feature of his personality was his knack for creating and maintaining relationships with a wide variety of people.


In 1954, Bob married Elizabeth Aub, also a psychiatrist, and they settled in Cambridge.  They had three children: Joe, Elizabeth and Clay.


Though Bob enjoyed seeing patients, his real passion was administration and system building.  He was director of the Cambridge Guidance Center, and later the Area Director of the Cambridge/Somerville mental health system.  He knew how to make things happen, and was in constant contact with legislators, community stakeholders and health care providers.  He helped create innovative community based mental health programs for people dealing with homelessness and alcoholism.


Bob was always reading and learning about new things. As a child, he collected stamps and read National Geographic and his curiosity about the world never waned. He loved to travel and visited all 50 states and dozens of countries – including Mongolia, Kenya, Afghanistan, Peru and Morocco (a favorite).Even when travel was no longer possible, he considered it his “job” to read the New York Times every day from cover to cover and was always happy to discuss the day’s events.  He was thrilled to vote in the last election in favor of the (Green) New Deal principles he cherished.


Bob maintained his impish sense of humor to the end. He loved his family. Throughout his life he was in regular contact with his brother and sister in Missouri, numerous aunts and uncles and later his niece and nephews.  He is survived by son Joe (Miriam Ornstein) of Belmont, Massachusetts, daughter Elizabeth (Bill Wood) of Jamestown, Rhode Island, and son Clay (Carole Landisman) of Seattle, Washington, nine grandchildren and step grandchildren, Kat Lawrence, Sarah Reid, Jen Lawrence, Ben Reid, Micah Reid, Adina Ornstein,  Nathaniel Reid, Sandy Wood and Billy Wood and one great- grandchild, Miles Leung.

Contributions in Bob’s honor can be made to the Cambridge Community Foundation or a charity of your choice. Donate to the Cambridge Community Foundation online at (apply your donation to the Reid Family Fund) or send a check to Cambridge Community Foundation, c/o The Link 255 Main Street. 8th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02142.





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